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Designer Lee Broom talks finding inspiration and the art of collaboration

© Fashioning Design: Lee Broom by Lee Broom, Rizzoli New York, 2022.
© Fashioning Design: Lee Broom by Lee Broom, Rizzoli New York, 2022.
Designer Lee Broom's furniture, lighting and accessories have made their way into the permanent collections of cultural institutions in London and New York.

His designs are known for their mix of classicism and modernity, and his portfolio includes more than 100 products.

In the new book Fashioning Design: Lee Broom, published by Rizzoli, Broom delves into the influences and ideas behind his work and shares his approach to designing emotionally while also focusing on materiality, form and function.

The book is divided into four parts that explore different aspects of Broom’s design personality, including his relationship with architecture, his fascination with history and how past techniques inform present, his meticulous approach to making and materials, and his background in theatre and fashion.

Fashioning Design explores the many influences behind your portfolio – at the risk of oversimplifying your sources of inspiration, between architecture, history, material, theatre and fashion, is there one in particular that stands out to you in its ability to consistently spark ideas?

Probably history. I have a keen interest in history in general, not just related to art and design. So, in that respect it consistently continues to inspire me, and once I open up one door another one seems to open and that’s when the other references you mention begin to come into play. Everything that has influenced me in my past continues to do so and so it is hard to choose just one source that influences me more than others.

Fashioning Design considers the art of collaboration – what is it you look for in a collaborator?

I like to work with people and brands that I admire, with a shared ethos of craftmanship and heritage, and I also like a collaboration to challenge me and allow me to explore new genres. I like to work outside the design industry, and I just designed a limited-edition XO decanter for Rémy Martin, which allowed me to look back at the history of the brand and the original decanter design, and explore how the cognac should be poured and served. It found the whole experience fascinating and rewarding. When I’m creating for my own brand, the canvas is completely blank, and when I collaborate with another brand it takes my mind to a completely different direction I probably would have never gone in before.

In regards to your preference for British manufacturing, how does working with local talent enhance your work?

The UK has a wonderful network of manufacturing skills and craftspeople, and it is great to support local industries to ensure their skills continue to be passed on to the next generation. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to manufacture at home because of the resources and also we are creating luxury products so it’s important we look at craftspeople who are real experts in their field. So, for instance all of our marble products are made in Italy and our crystal in the Czech Republic.

Read more about Lee Broom and the new book Fashioning Design: Lee Broom in the summer issue of STYLE, on sale now.


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